There are two kinds of people in the world: those who think there are two kinds of people in the world and those who don’t.
In the social media world, there is a third group trapped between the plugged-in “Twitterati” and the shrinking group that remain unaware of it even existing.
This middle group know social media is important: They see it permeating popular culture and recognise the impact it’s having on society, as well as businesses. But without facebook friends, knowing what to say in 160 characters or what it means to hashtag something, for all intents and purposes they are in the group who don’t.
So what are the practical social media uses and how can business owners or those with no friends fans or followers really get anything meaningful out of it.
Let me reminisce…It’s 2005, it’s a damp Tuesday afternoon in Derby and I’m stood next to some sad looking sandwiches in a corner of the room listening politely to a guy talking about health and safety training workshops he runs. In 5 minutes he’ll ask me what I do, we’ll exchange business cards and then I’ll move onto the next guy whose probably an accountant and just as irrelevant.
Oh the fond memories I have of networking.
Fast forward to today and I can pretty much contact anyone in the world direct to their inbox with just a few minutes of searching. Furthermore, all this can all be achieved from the comfort of the sofa, sat in my pants if I so wished.
It’s not quite that simple of course but what the social web has done is place the opportunity for everyone in the world to be connected to everyone else. You don’t need to be a social media expert to appreciate that this has huge potential for businesses looking to make key contacts.
Even if you’d rather stick to face-to-face introductions, social media allows you to do your homework on the person you want to build a real relationship with. Get that attendee list before the seminar and do your homework! Or give the whole of that conference you’re attending a shout out on Twitter and let them do their homework on you instead.
As a case in point, whilst writing this post, I happened to look up who the CEO of Coca-Cola is on Linked In to use them as a potential example. Only turns out we went to the same University – If I ever get to meet Muhtar Kent I already know how I’ll break the ice.
It’s not just big news stories that get reported first on-line. Any development within any niche is likely to be reported first via social media.
But it’s not just the speed at which you can discover news and information which is important. With so much content on the web, a social network can be used to filter information down to the best stuff from the best sources. Imagine every newspaper magazine and TV show in the world edited down to what you like and presented to you for consumption at your leisure.
It’s this mix of speed and pertinence that means within a few minutes it’s possible to get the latest oversight of any topic – even if it hasn’t been reported yet through “traditional” channels.
Which leads me neatly onto the following point – if you you’d find it useful to have great online marketing resources, you should be following us @eventureteam, or you can make sure you don’t miss our latest blogs (like this one) by liking us on Facebook.
There is a subtle clue in the title which is often ignored. Social media should be…social! It’s all well and good living in our own worlds, finding out what we want to know and saying what we want to say. But great things can happen when you listen to your customers.
Engaging with people is an important part of what makes social media so powerful. When someone talks about your brand, you should know about it. When a customer tells their own followers about your products, you should know about it. And when someone declares their disappointment in your company, you should react to it.
Even if you do nothing else, you should at least be passively “listening to the internet” to maintain your brands image and join in with the conversation whenever possible. Even people who don’t care about social media should care about what others are saying on it about them.
How well do you know your staff and how well do they know each other. Second to a few hours in the pub, social media is the next best thing for helping create genuine real-world relationships amongst staff. Because we share so much of our lives online, it takes very little time for people to discover hitherto unknown shared interests between staff members.
A lesser appreciated advantage is the fact that no company database is likely to have up to date contact details, for every member of staff, past and present, which can be accessed from any PC or smartphone anywhere in the world at any time.
Social Media is an incredibly powerful tool and it’s certainly not necessary to have lot’s of connection already before it becomes of use (though it does become even more useful once you do). Best of all, it’s free – there isn’t much else out there which offers that kind of value for money.
And whilst it isn’t strictly necessary to have any social profiles yet, the next decade will see a normalisation of social media to the extent that those who aren’t plugged in will become quaint exceptions – perhaps it’s time to choose which group you want to be in?
Your comments are
welcome encouraged below we are social after all! There is also a simple guide to setting up social media profiles you can read by following the link.